Why is it important to monitor trip distance

In certain industries, like taxi’s and minicabs, trip distance determines in whole or in part the value of your product, and is therefore one of the most important things to measure and to get right. It can still be an extremely important in many other lines of work, particularly when dealing with a fleet of vehicles.

Assisting with Maintenance Schedules

Fleet vehicles tend to build up an above average mileage quickly, and therefore need to be more regularly maintained than non-business vehicles, so it makes sense for fleet managers to keep a close eye on each vehicles odometer.

Tracking Grey Fleet Vehicles

“Grey fleet” refers to vehicles that are used for business travel that are not owned by the company; typical examples include vehicles owned by the employee, bought with an Employee Car Ownership (ECO) scheme, and privately rented vehicles. These employees are then reimbursed on a per-mile basis for business travel.

According to a 2012 estimate by the Energy Savings Trust, there are 4 million grey fleet vehicles in the UK – which represents 75% of all business vehicle traffic.

Grey fleet is common among companies with low business miles or those that want to avoid the capital outlay of setting up their own fleet; but grey fleets can be difficult to manage since business and private mileage need to be separated for legal and tax purposes.

Mileage records can help with scheduling maintenance
Mileage records can help with scheduling maintenance

Empoyer’s Resposibilities for Grey Fleets

Employers of grey fleet drivers need to consider the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAP), and also overall duty of care.

HMRC requires that companies keep accurate records differentiating business and private mileage, something that can be a costly and time-consuming to achieve, not to mention inaccurate. In addition  to this, if a grey fleet driver has an accident while out on business, your company could be liable.

Fleet Tracking Systems Record Business and Personal Mileage

Ensuring that you can account for genuine business mileage not only makes sound business sense, but also keeps you on the right side of the law, but it’s not the easiest aspect of your fleet to manage.

Generally speaking employees with high mileage needs should be supplied with a company vehicle to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO). The higher the TCO the greater the need for a company vehicle, but with that comes the headache of separating company miles from personal miles.

But the whole issue can be softened by use of a fleet tracking system. It’s a similar system to the old paper logs, where the driver would note down start mileage and finish mileage when on company business and submit it monthly, only with a degree of accuracy the old system could only dream of.

The GPS element adds precision to the mileage covered, even if the driver has to reroute, and with many systems reporting the mileage used back to the office in real time, the system is always up to date.

Some GPS trackers will be equipped with a button in the vehicle that allows the driver to switch from “business travel” to “personal travel”. In order to protect the privacy of the driver, the route and position is not recorded by the system – only their mileage.

Business and personal mileage are separated as they occur, and reports are automatically generated – saving unnecessary work later. If this feature is important to your fleet, ensure that it’s available in the package when you are getting quotes.


Author - Nigel Vaughan

Nigel has over 10 years experience in digital marketing, and loves tech and all kinds of electronics. A keen cyclist and cycle-tourist, he has cycled through 25 countries worldwide.

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